The Arkansas Razorbacks defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores in their home conference opener in overtime, 90-85. This marks the first win in conference for the Hogs after being pummeled by No. 20 Texas A&M, 92-69. Hogs were led by Anthlon Bell and Moses Kingsley and forced a ton of turnovers.
The Arkansas Razorbacks got a big and surprising win tonight in front of 6,387 fans at Bud Walton Arena. The Hogs were hosed at A&M and any hope of them being able to compete in conference seem to vanish. Then came tonight. The Hogs played like a Mike Anderson team. They were gritty, in your face and try to push the tempo. It was close the entire game which was certainly a surprise to this writer but probably all of Hog nation. They led at half-time and it seemed like they were set up for another Dayton game. And it wasn’t far off.
Into the second half, Vandy and Arkansas took turns taking the lead and giving it up. It eventually came down to the last seconds in regulation when Anthlon Bell hit a three from the corner to give the Hogs a two point lead with 2.2 seconds left on the clock. Anderson then took a questionable timeout and on the following play Vandy threw a full court pass that landed in the hands of Damian Jones. He sent the game into OT with an incredible buzzer-beating dunk.
It seemed liked the Hogs were destined to lose with so much momentum on Vandy’s side. Anderson told his players not to let that final dunk beat them in OT and they didn’t. Jones fouled out for the Commodores while Dusty Hannahs and Jabril Durham both contributed big shots and big steals. Vandy shot 50 percent from the field and from behind the arc but that didn’t matter. The Hogs forced 26(!) turnovers compared to their eight and that was the biggest difference.
Players of the Game
- Anthlon Bell — Bell scored 26 on 6-10 from three and 9-18 from the field. Bell has stepped up this season and put it on display tonight. His ability to hit from beyond the arc tonight was tremendous. It freed up space for the post players and kept Vandy on their toes. He was clutch in the final seconds of regulation and it’s becoming more apperant that he is becoming the go-to guy for a clutch shot. No matter how he’s shooting in any game, if there’s a chance, Bell needs to have it.
- Moses Kingsley — Kingsley put up 25 points with eight rebounds and four steals. Moses shined tonight and it was obvious that the Hogs could not compete the same without him on the floor. Damian Jones for Vandy is a stud and Moses kept up with him step for step. The Hogs had no answer for Jones when Moses was on the bench and with no offensive post threat, the offensive became one dimensional. Kingsley was also 7-10 from the line which is great to have a big man confident at free-throws down the stretch. He played 38 minutes and Hogs needed every second.
- Damian Jones– Jones kept Vandy in this game. He had 24 points and 15 rebounds. He made the last second dunk at the end of regulation to force the game into OT. He ultimately fouled out in OT and it was apperant Vandy lost some wind in their sails. Hogs capitalized but give credit to Jones for the awareness to take a dribble and dunk in 2.2 seconds.
Videos and Tweets from the Game
"Hogs beat Vandy 90-85! @KingMoses_ w/ 25 & 8 as they improve to 1-1 in #SEC #WPS https://t.co/82oaAZYQoQ— Chase Shannon (@chase_shannon) January 6, 2016"
The Arkansas Razorbacks host the Mississippi State Bulldogs this Saturday in Bud Walton Arena as they continue conference play. This is a winnable game for the Hogs, as MSU has struggled early in the season as well. Tip-off is slated for 2:30 on the SEC network.